Saturday, April 16, 2011

Arcadia in New York brings on fond memories of Tom Stoppard

One of my few faithful blog readers complained that they had seen nothing new since February, and I do apologize for finding myself so innundated with travel, grandchildren, reading for a talk on Shakespeare's The Tempest in April, and yes a deep case of procrastination--always a lurker on boardwalk of life.

What brings me out of my cocoon is the New York revival of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.  So much said by others and so many thoughts of my own about my relationship with the show.  First a reminder that this blog takes its title from Stoppard's  Arcadia.   "Stirring the Pudding" comes from a line in the play.

My Stoppard journey starts a long time ago.  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead spun me around on my ears in the 1970's and convinced me that the best theatre took on great ideas with both literacy and good humor.  Then it was directing my own production of The Real Inspector Hound.  Along the way I saw, in London mainly,  Jumpers, Dirty Linen, Travesties, Night and Day, and the Real Thing.  I missed Arcadia at the National Theatre, but caught up to it during its West End run at the Haymarket.  I still remember it clearly.  We were stuffed together toward the back of the first balcony; it was June and the theatre was like an oven, but my wife and I were transfixed and delighted.  Later we saw the Chicago production and I knew we had to do that show at Monmouth College.  And we did.  Doug Rankin's set for the show did us all proud and several of the students in that production have gone on to real careers in the theatre. It was an outstanding cast and included Mike Fotis, Joe Bozig, Sherry Jirgle, and Beth Dickey.  One of Doug's former professors has an excellent comment on the play and I refer you to it if you want to read some more. Check it out at

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